Social isolation

I’m imposing a one-woman trade embargo on China

Without making any efforts in that direction, I now know all about a certain telecom firm’s future business plans. My neighbours are working from home, loudly, with their kitchen windows open. I want to scream: ‘I can’t turn my ears off, and I don’t have a mute function!’ Call me old-fashioned, but if they continue to corporate grandstand at the tops of their voices during laptop conference calls without specifically telling me that everything I’m hearing is off the record, then I’m treating them as primary source material. ‘Guys, that’s confidential. Our ears only,’ one of them keeps shouting through her kitchen window. Why not close the window, as a

I was relishing the lockdown a week ago, but now I need urgent hospital treatment

In France the rule for going for a walk stipulates an hour in duration or a kilometre in distance. We are fortunate here in having a 40-minute circular walk that starts at the front door, most of it on a footpath, though beginning with a steep climb that makes me pant like a greyhound after a course. Then the path levels and runs pleasantly through olive groves and vineyards. One is never out of sight of houses and at three points along the route house dogs — in order: a pair of Weimaraners, a Jack Russell and a pedigree sheepdog — enjoy intimidating passers-by by throwing themselves in a frenzy

How tennis went socialist

Desperately boring times but very healthy ones. No parties, no girls, not too much boozing, lots of smoking and reading very late into the night. And non-stop training and sport. What else can one do when locked in with one’s wife and one’s son and with nostalgic thoughts of a time when people gathered in groups? It seems very long ago but do any of you remember when people gave parties? Desperate times demand desperate measures and make for desperate columnists. Meditation might be good for philosophers and their ilk, but correspondents need to get out and get the story. The only thing to report nowadays are the sleeping habits

The joys of social isolation

No use datelining any more, I’m here for the duration. Even the ski lifts have been ordered to close: chiuso, geschlossen, fermé. The only way to ski now is the old-fashioned way, à la Hemingway: climb up with skins, peel them off, and enjoy the one and only run of the day. Not only is the climbing beneficial to one’s health, it’s also the only thing that’s free in good old Helvetia. Mind you, if too many people do it the Swiss will start charging for it. But for the moment, no one’s doing it as the snow has gone the way of women and children first in a sinking